Faraday Future employees have been doing a lot of talking since we first learned about the company in late 2015. The problem with that is they only started backing it all up in January at CES, when we finally got a look at — and more importantly, a ride in — the FF91, the mass-market electric vehicle Faraday plans to build. That car now has a new test ahead of it that will take place in the public eye, because Faraday has entered the FF91 in this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The Hill Climb takes place in June, and it’s a 101-year-old competition where drivers race their cars through 156 turns and 12.42 miles in an attempt to set the fastest time — all while climbing nearly a mile to the 14,115-foot summit. The FF91 will be driven by British GT Championship driver Robin Shute.
Faraday versus Tesla... or kind of, anyway
Faraday will compete in the “exhibition class,” which the Hill Climb organizers explain as a way to “demonstrate advancements in the practical application of motor sports technology.” It’s essentially a class for cars that don’t meet the requirements for the more competitive divisions, but it still allows entrants to record an official climb time. But there’s a fun wrinkle here, too — there’s a Tesla Model S P100D entered in the same class, and it will be driven by Formula Drift champion Dai Yoshihara.
A spokesperson for Faraday tells The Verge that the company is bringing the FF91 to Pikes Peak “to further facilitate our internal engineering development” of the car. “We continue to improve the powertrain we are preparing for our car, and Pikes Peak offers a demanding environment in which we can evaluate it,” they write. Faraday will use a “beta level development car” like the one shown off at CES.
The FF91 is supposed to go into production in 2018, though the company has spent the better part of the last year dealing with serious financial turmoil that spurred resignations, debts, and major hiccups in the process of building its $1 billion factory in Nevada.
Faraday Future has had connections to motorsports since the company came out of stealth mode. The company is partnered up with one of the teams in the all-electric racing series Formula E, and it unveiled a racey (but static) concept car at last year’s CES. So Pikes Peak isn’t that much of a reach. But it’s also not like Faraday is going to disrupt anything as it rolls up the hill. Electric cars have been competing in the Hill Climb for a few years now, and they’re already pretty dominant since their performance isn’t affected by a change in altitude.
Both before and after its announcement, Faraday Future couldn’t help but surround the FF91 with smoke and mirrors. But heavily edited clips of the car beating its contemporaries in a drag race and carefully controlled events at CES only go so far when it comes to speaking to the FF91’s actual performance. Who knew the first chance we’d get to see the FF91 perform on even ground would be in a race up a hill?